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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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Two years ago, we looked at some constructions made from playing cards that are slotted and slid together. Here is a new one, by Zach Abel.

Thirty cards are required, and each is slotted as in the template below. To build your own, simply copy this pattern onto thirty cards, cut on the red lines, and assemble as in the image. Note that Zach’s version above has some cards facing in and some facing out, however, the template must always face the same way. So if you want some cards to face differently, turn them over before coping the template on them.

Notice how sets of five cards meet at their short edges form six different prism-like “equators.” The construction approximates the uniform compound of six pentagonal prisms, but with rectangular sides instead of squares.

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See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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  2. dorukulgen.com says:

    couldnt do this at all, can you post some furhter tutorial ?

    1. davad says:

      Looks like you need to start with three sets of two (6) cards …. then it gets fuzzy. Can’t figure out how the 5 of these sets get merged to form the globe. A more details tutorial would be great.

  3. Josh says:

    please post a video of someone making the ball of cards- it looks very complicated and I dont know how to assemble it!
    Thanks:)

  4. davad says:

    Please…. someone post a tutorial on this one. At least a version that has all the cards the same way. I think that would help.

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